Kerry's next steps

See this Matthew Yglesias post on Kerry's vagueness on Iraq. I agree that he can wait out the primaries before going offensive (um, I hope) about what his real positions on the war are. No use wasting those headlines on stories about how Dean and Edwards may really, honestly, be done now. Beyond that, though, Kerry is going to need to do better than just equivocating about how he would have acted in Bush's position confronting the choice to go to war. That will only win you armchair general points, not the presidency. Kerry needs to radically change the debate by projecting what he WILL be doing as president in 2005...how he will be cleaning up what Bush has done, how he will move forward. Unless they have something up there sleaves, which, of course, is entirely possible, I'm not sure if the administration really has a new big idea about what they're going to do after Iraq. Especially since it appears they are going to be mopping up the fallout for a while. Kerry needs to play the bigger man here: Bush has made some mistakes and his policy isn't sustainable, but he has done some valuable things. I know how to take it to the next level, and I'll do it honestly and intelligently without screwing over the domestic economy.

The Washington Post editorial about Kerry's 'inconsistency' about Iraq over the years has been rightly criticized. The differences between the G1 invasion, the Clinton bombing, and the G2 invasion are pretty wide, and reliably voting to shoot missiles at Iraq is not the same as having a consistent position on the subject. In fact, as Gregg Easterbrook pointed out a little while ago, in enlightened foreign policy terms, the recent invasion looked a lot better (on paper at least) than the Gulf War.


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